- Category : American Football Coach
- Type : PEG
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX The Clarion 1
John Earl Madden (born April 10, 1936) is a former American football player in the National Football League, a former Super Bowl-winning head coach with the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League and later the NFL, and a former color commentator for NFL telecasts. In 2006, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his coaching career. He is also widely known for the long-running Madden NFL video game series he has endorsed and fronted since 1988. Madden broadcast with Pat Summerall in the 1980s and 1990s, on CBS and later Fox. He was also the last color commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football before it moved to ESPN in 2006. His last regular role was as a commentator for NBC Sunday Night Football. During his career, he worked as the main color commentator for all four major networks.
Madden has also written several books and has served as a commercial pitchman for various products and retailers. He retired from broadcasting on April 16, 2009 in order to spend more time with his family.
John Madden was born in Austin, Minnesota to Earl Russell Madden and Mary Margaret (Flaherty) Madden. His father, an auto mechanic, moved the Madden family to Daly City, California, a suburb of San Francisco, when he was young. He attended middle school at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and then Jefferson High School, graduating in 1954.
John Madden married Virginia Fields on December 26, 1959. They live in Pleasanton, California, and have two sons, Joseph and Michael. Joe played football at Brown University and Mike attended Harvard University where he started at receiver on the football team.
A football standout in high school, Madden then played college football at Oregon and the College of San Mateo before transferring to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he played both offense and defense for the Mustangs while earning a BS in Education in 1959 and an MA in Education in 1961. He won all-conference honors at offensive tackle, and was a catcher on Cal Poly's baseball team. Madden was drafted in the 21st round (244th overall) by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in 1958, but a knee injury in training camp a year later ended his playing career before he ever got a chance to play professionally.
In 1960, he became an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, and was promoted to head coach in 1962. Following the 1963 season, he was hired as a defensive assistant at San Diego State, where he served through 1966. During that final campaign, the Aztecs were ranked among the top small college teams in the country. While at SDSU, Madden coached under Don Coryell, whom Madden credits as being an influence on his coaching and who he feels will one day be included in the Hall of Fame.
Building on that success, Madden was hired by Al Davis as linebackers coach for the AFL's Oakland Raiders in 1967, putting him in the Sid Gillman coaching tree. He helped the team reach Super Bowl II that season. A year later, after Raiders head coach John Rauch resigned to take the same position with the Buffalo Bills, Madden was named the Raiders' head coach on February 4, 1969, becoming professional football's youngest head coach at the age of 32. According to current Raider's coach Dennis Allen, John Madden was arguably the best Oakland Raiders coach in the history of the team.
Madden's Raiders reached and lost five AFC title games in seven years, which left the Raiders with the same image that the Dallas Cowboys had previously had—as a team unable to "win the big one." Despite a 12–1–1 mark in 1969, the team lost 17–7 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final American Football League championship game. Three years later, what appeared to be a last-minute victory over the Steelers instead became a part of football lore when Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" gave Pittsburgh a 13–7 win. Then, in 1974, after defeating the two-time, and defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins in dramatic fashion, the Raiders lost again to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
In 1975 NFL season, the Raiders went 11-3 and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game on a frozen field 16-10.
In 1976, the Raiders went 13–1 in the regular season, and escaped the first round of the playoffs with a dramatic and controversial victory over the New England Patriots. In the second round of the playoffs they defeated the Steelers for the AFC Championship. On January 9, 1977, Madden's Raiders finally captured their first Super Bowl with a convincing 32–14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders lost the AFC Championship Game in 1977 to the Denver Broncos with Madden battling an ulcer for most of the season. He retired after the 1978 season when the Raiders failed to make the playoffs.
Madden retired as a Super Bowl winning head coach and was the youngest coach ever to reach 100 career regular season victories, a record he compiled in only ten full seasons of coaching at the age of 42. He is still the coach with the most wins in Raiders history.
Madden's overall winning percentage including playoff games ranks second in league history. He won a Super Bowl and never had a losing season as a head coach. Madden has a winning record as a head coach against other future Hall of Fame head coaches.
From 1979 through 2008, Madden worked as a color commentator/analyst on NFL games for all four major American television networks.
After working lower profile contests for CBS during his first three years, he was elevated to the network's top football broadcasting duo with Pat Summerall in 1981, replacing Tom Brookshier. The team of Madden and Summerall would go on to call eight Super Bowls together (five for CBS and three for Fox). On occasions in which Summerall was unavailable (during the CBS years, Summerall was normally scheduled to commentate on U.S. Open tennis tournament during the early weeks of the NFL season), Madden would team with the likes of Vin Scully and subsequently, Verne Lundquist. On their final CBS telecast together (the NFC Championship Game on January 23, 1994), Madden told Summerall that while CBS may no longer have the NFL (for the time being, as CBS would eventually regain NFL rights in 1998 by outbidding NBC for the rights to AFC telecasts), at least they have the memories. On ABC's final Monday Night Football telecast in 2005, Madden used a similar choice of words.
Fox Sports/ABC Sports
When the Fox Network gained the rights in 1994, the pair shifted to that network with Madden reportedly making US$8 million per year. Following his appearance during Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002, Madden left Fox to become a commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football, working with longtime play-by-play announcer Al Michaels.
In 2005, Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports, announced that Madden would do color commentary for NBC's Sunday night NFL games beginning with the 2006 season, making him the first sportscaster to have worked for all of the "Big Four" U.S. broadcast television networks. Madden also reached the milestone of calling the Super Bowl on all of the "Big Four" broadcast networks when he appeared on the 2009 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII. On October 13, 2008, NBC announced that Madden would not be traveling to the October 19 Sunday Night Football Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Seattle Seahawks game in Tampa, Florida, marking the end of Madden's 476-weekend streak of consecutive broadcast appearances. Madden, who travels by bus because of a fear of flying (see below) decided to take the week off because he had traveled from Jacksonville to San Diego, and would have had to go back to Florida before returning to his Northern California home. Madden was replaced by Football Night in America studio analyst Cris Collinsworth for the game, and returned for the following telecast on November 2, 2008 in Indianapolis (until 2011; the NFL did not schedule Sunday night games for one week in October, as not to overlap with the World Series taking place roughly around the same time).
On April 16, 2009, Madden officially announced his retirement as an NFL broadcaster after 30 years, saying "It's time." Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth was announced as his replacement. Madden now lives in Pleasanton, CA.
Madden's lively and flamboyant delivery has won him critical acclaim and fourteen Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst. His announcing style is punctuated with interjections such as "Boom!", "Whap!", "Bang!" and "Doink!"', and his use of the telestrator, a device which allows him to superimpose his light-penned diagrams of football plays over video footage. Madden's use of the telestrator helped to popularize the technology, which has become a staple of television coverage of all sports.
Madden was also known for working the annual Thanksgiving Day games for CBS and later Fox. He would award a turkey or turducken to players of the winning team. He would also award a turkey drumstick to players of the winning team during the Thanksgiving Day game, often bringing out a "nuclear turkey" with as many as eight drumsticks on it for the occasion. The drumsticks served as an odd take on the "player of the game" award. Madden stopped announcing the Thanksgiving Day games after he moved to ABC in 2002, but the tradition continued. Fox, CBS, and the NFL Network present the Galloping Gobbler, the All-Iron Award, and the Pudding Pie Award, respectively, to the Game MVP.
"Of all those players, I think Jack Youngblood...personified the All-Madden team spirit..."
In 1984, Madden took the advice of NFL coach John Robinson – a friend of Madden's since elementary school – and created the "All-Madden" team, a group of players whom Madden thought represented football and played the game the way he thought it should be played. Madden continued to pick the All-Madden team through the 2001 season when he left to move to ABC and Monday Night Football. Madden added his "Haul of Fame" for his favorite players, he created a special 10th Anniversary All-Madden team in 1994, an All-Madden Super Bowl Team in 1997 and an All-Time All-Madden team in 2000. All Madden was also the title of Madden's third best-selling book (after Hey, Wait A Minute I Wrote a Book and One Knee Equals Two Feet).
Madden explained, "What does it mean to be 'All-Madden'? It's a whole range of things. For defensive linemen and linebackers, it's about Jack Youngblood playing with a busted leg, Lawrence Taylor wreaking havoc on the offense and Reggie White making the other guy wish he put a little more in the collection plate at church. It's about a guy who's got a dirty uniform, mud on his face and grass in the ear hole of his helmet." ABC Sports stated, "the All-Madden Team has become synonymous with greatness."
Other NFL greats who have been on various All-Madden teams are Howie Long, Dan Hampton, Ronnie Lott, Richard Dent, Jackie Slater, Andre Tippett, Walter Payton, Mark Bavaro and Bruce Smith among many others.
Fear of flying
Madden's fear of flight is well known. Two different theories have developed as to the cause. One theory relates to the October 29, 1960 Cal Poly football team plane crash that claimed the lives of sixteen players, the team’s student manager, and a football booster. Having graduated from Cal Poly only two years prior, Madden lost many friends in the accident. However, it is known that Madden flew up until 1979, when he had a panic attack on a flight originating in Tampa. Madden, however, stated once in an interview that his fears were not about turbulence, flying, or heights, but primarily claustrophobia. He also once noted that when he did fly, traveling all over the United States, it did not allow him to see anything.
During his Saturday Night Live hosting appearance in the early 1980s, a short film aired depicting Madden making the journey to New York to host SNL by train. In the mid-1980s Madden was a frequent rider on Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited. However, beginning in 1987, he has traveled around the country in a customized coach-bus, which he has dubbed the Madden Cruiser. The Madden Cruiser shells are manufactured by Motor Coach Industries. The coach sponsors over the years have included Walker Advantage Muffler and Outback Steakhouse. The most recent coach, Madden's sixth, was built in 2005.
Because of this, Madden has never done commentary during a Pro Bowl, which was held in Hawaii until 2010. Likewise, Madden has never called any pre-season game held outside of North America, even if his play-by-play partner was on the telecast.
Madden found an unexpected use for his bus in New York after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when he provided transportation for former ice skating champion Peggy Fleming, whose flight home to Los Gatos, California had been grounded.
In contrast to Madden's own fear of flying, his wife Virginia holds a private pilot license.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored Madden with its Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2002. In August 2005 the Hall's Veterans' Committee selected Madden and Rayfield Wright as candidates for entry into the Hall in 2006. Madden was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 5, 2006.
Madden was placed as number two on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers by Yahoo! Sports.
On August 25, 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced that Madden would be one of 13 California Hall of Fame inductees in The California Museum's yearlong exhibit. The induction ceremony was on December 1, 2009 in Sacramento, California.
Madden does a six- to nine-minute on-air chat on KCBS radio in San Francisco with the sports and news anchors every weekday morning at 8:15 am Pacific Time, with recorded repeats throughout the day. Podcasts are available at http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/tag/john-madden/ and on iTunes.
Madden has also aired sports commentaries in syndication on the Westwood One radio network in the United States.
In recent years Madden has appeared in a variety of radio and television commercials including Ace Hardware, Outback Steakhouse (the current corporate sponsor of the Maddencruiser), Verizon Wireless, Rent-A-Center, Miller Lite, Sirius Satellite Radio and Tinactin. In particular, the Miller beer advertisements cemented Madden's image in the public eye as a bumbling but lovable personality.
Madden had a brief movie role playing himself in the 1994 youth football film Little Giants and in the 2000 film The Replacements. He appeared in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons, "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday". Madden also hosted an episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1982 with musical guest Jennifer Holliday. As well, Madden was featured in the Irish band U2's music video for the song "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of". In the video, Madden is commenting on a fake football game featuring Paul Hewson as the kicker who misses a short kick to win the game.
He has also recorded radio and television public service announcements for a number of causes, including Vascular Cures (formerly the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation) in Redwood City, California (based on the health experiences of his wife, Virginia Madden).
To minimize travel to studios, Madden built Goal Line Productions in Pleasanton, Calif., a facility that is now managed by his son, Joe. The facility features a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) sound stage, one of the largest in Northern California.
John Madden lends his voice, personality and name to the Madden NFL series of football video games, published by Electronic Arts since 1988. Entries in the series have consistently been best-sellers, to the extent that they have even spawned TV shows featuring competition between players of the games. Despite Madden's retirement as a broadcaster in 2009, he still continues to lend his name and provide creative input to the game.
Madden has viewed the game as an educational tool on football. Even during initial planning conversations with Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins in 1984, Madden envisioned the program as a tool for teaching and testing plays. And during a 2012 interview, he stated that Madden NFL was "a way for people to learn the game of football and participate in the game at a pretty sophisticated level."